X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Will he, won’t he? Ed Miliband makes noises about benefits war

9 December 2012

9:46 AM

9 December 2012

9:46 AM

Ed Miliband is ready to wage war with David Cameron and George Osborne over the Welfare Uprating Bill, which will see benefits rise by 1 per cent a year, rather than in line with inflation. The Labour leader has been talking tough in the papers this morning, with a piece in the Sunday Mirror in which he says:

‘We should be tough on the minority who can work and try to avoid responsibility. But there comes a moment when a government is exposed for who they are. That happened to David Cameron and George Osborne this week.

‘They showed they are not fit to govern because they played political games with people’s livelihoods. They said they were cutting benefits for the next three years and the mood music was that it was a way to punish the ‘shirkers and scroungers’. But the truth turned out to be so different. Six out of 10 people hit by these cuts are people who get up every morning and go to work. The lowest paid families getting tax credits. The new mum who will lose £180 in maternity pay.’

The Observer, meanwhile, reports that Miliband ‘appears ready to order his party to oppose real-term reductions in income for millions of the poorest and most vulnerable’. But in both instances Miliband and those around him have – significantly – stopped short of confirming that Labour will actually oppose the Welfare Uprating Bill.

[Alt-Text]


The problem in the party is that there are deep divisions on welfare. There are the Blairite modernisers like Liam Byrne, who are aware of the need for Labour to overhaul its image on benefits. And then there are others who bitterly oppose those benefit cuts already approved by Parliament. I sketched out the to-ing and fro-ing within Byrne’s own team last year over the £26,000 benefits cap. Those divisions go all the way down to the grassroots.

James reports in his column today that ‘there will be much more use of the ‘welfare wedge’ between now and 2015’ by the Conservative party. It is an effective way of smoking Labour out of its den on welfare.

Miliband does need to articulate why, if wages are not rising in line with inflation, benefits should do too, even payments for those in work that he identifies in his Sunday Mirror piece. One way out could be for Labour to really focus the debate on ‘strivers’ by trying to amend the Welfare Uprating Bill so that working benefits are stripped out, thus making the party appear ‘tough on the minority who can work and try to avoid responsibility’. But that he has not yet confirmed what his stance is on uprating benefits is significant, and suggests ongoing divisions in the Labour party, just as Tory strategists hoped.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close